Mice deficient of Lats1 develop soft-tissue sarcomas, ovarian tumours and pituitary dysfunction.
The lats gene has been identified as a tumour suppressor in Drosophila melanogaster using mosaic screens. Mosaic flies carrying somatic cells that are mutant for lats develop large tumours in many organs. The human LATS1 homologue rescues embryonic lethality and inhibits tumour growth in lats mutant flies, demonstrating the functional conservation of this gene. Biochemical and genetic analyses have revealed that LATS1 functions as a negative regulator of CDC2 (ref. 3). These data suggest that mammalian LATS1 may have a role in tumorigenesis. To elucidate the function of mammalian LATS1, we have generated Lats1-/- mice. Lats1-/- animals exhibit a lack of mammary gland development, infertility and growth retardation. Accompanying these defects are hyperplastic changes in the pituitary and decreased serum hormone levels. The reproductive hormone defects of Lats1-/- mice are reminiscent of isolated LH-hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and corpus luteum insufficiency in humans. Furthermore, Lats1-/- mice develop soft-tissue sarcomas and ovarian stromal cell tumours and are highly sensitive to carcinogenic treatments. Our data demonstrate a role for Lats1 in mammalian tumorigenesis and specific endocrine dysfunction.